The Focusing Optics x-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI) is a sounding rocket payload funded under the NASA Low Cost Access to Space program to test hard x-ray (HXR) focusing optics and position-sensitive solid state detectors for solar observations. Today's leading solar HXR instrument, the Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) provides excellent spatial (2 arcseconds) and spectral (1 keV) resolution. Yet, due to its use of an indirect imaging system, the derived images have a low dynamic range (typically <10) and sensitivity. These limitations make it difficult to study faint x-ray sources in the solar corona which are crucial for understanding the particle acceleration processes which occur there. Grazing-incidence x-ray focusing optics combined with position-sensitive solid state detectors can overcome both of these limitations enabling the next breakthrough in understanding impulsive energy release on the Sun. The FOXSI project is led by the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is responsible for the grazingincidence optics, while the Astro-H team at JAXA/ISAS has provided double-sided silicon strip detectors. FOXSI is a pathfinder for the next generation of solar hard x-ray spectroscopic imagers. Such observatories will be able to image the non-thermal electrons within the solar flare acceleration region, trace their paths through the corona, and provide essential quantitative measurements such as energy spectra, density, and energy content in accelerated electrons.